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but I suppose four years ago.
The « Rose” in question was a rose given to Lady Austen by Mrs. Unwin, and the incident that suggested the subject occurred in the room in which you slept at the vicarage, which Lady Austen made her dining-room. Some time since, Mr. Bull going to London, I gave him a copy of it, which he undertook to convey to Nichols, the printer of the Gentleman's Magazine. He showed it to a Mrs.C—, who begged to copy it, and promised to send it to the printer's by her servant. Three or four months afterwards, and when I had concluded it was lost, I saw it in the Gentleman's Magazine, with my signature, “W.C.” Poor simpleton ! She will find now perhaps that the rose had a thorn, and that she has pricked her fingers with it. Adieu! my beloved Cousin.
Though these verses, of which another claimed the authorship, will appear in the collection of poems, yet as they are so characterised by taste and beauty, and the incident which gave rise to them is mentioned in the above letter, we think the reader will be pleased with their insertion. “ The rose had been wash’d, just wash'd in a shower,
Which Mary * to Annat convey'd;
And weigh'd down its beautiful head.
And it seem'd to a fanciful view
On the flourishing bush where it grew.
I hastily seized it, unfit as it was,
For a nosegay, so dripping and drown'd;
I snapp'd it, it fell to the ground.
Some act by the delicate mind;
Already to sorrow resign'd.
This elegant rose, had I shaken it less,
Might have bloom'd with its owner awhile,
May be follow'd perhaps by a smile."
TO THE REV. JOHN NEWTON.*
Weston, Jan. 13, 1787. My dear Friend—It gave me pleasure, such as it was, to learn by a letter from Mr. H. Thornton, that the inscription for the tomb of poor Unwin has been approved of. The dead have nothing to do with human praises, but, if they died in the Lord, they have abundant praises to render to Him, which is far better. The dead, whatever they leave behind them, have nothing to regret. Good Christians are the only creatures in the world that are truly good, and them they will see again, and see them improved; therefore them they regret not. Regret is for the living: what we get, we soon lose, and what we lose, we regret. The most obvious consolation in this case seems to be, that who
regret others shall quickly become objects of regret ourselves;
* Private Correspondence:
for mankind are continually passing off in a rapid succession.
I have many kind friends who, like yourself, wish that, instead of turning my endeavours to a translation of Homer, I had proceeded in the way of original poetry. But I can truly say, that it was ordered otherwise, not by me, but by the Providence that governs all my thoughts and directs my intentions as he pleases. It may seem strange, but it is true, that, after having written a volume, in general with great ease to myself, I found it impossible to write another page. The mind of man is not a fountain but a cistern; and mine, God knows, a broken one. It is my creed, that the intellect depends as much, both for the energy and the multitude of its exertions, upon the operations of God's agency upon it, as the heart, for the exercise of its graces, upon the influence of the Holy Spirit. According to this persuasion, I may very reasonably affirm, that it was not God's pleasure that I should proceed in the same track, because he did not enable me to do it. A whole year I waited, and waited in circumstances of mind that made a state of non-employment peculiarly irksome to me. I longed for the pen, as the only remedy, but I could find no subject : extreme distress of spirit at last drove me as, if I mistake not, I told you some time since, to lay Homer before me, and translate for amusement. Why it pleased God that I should be hunted into such a business, of such enormous length and labour, by miseries for which He did not see good to afford me any other remedy, I know not.
But so it was:
and jejune as the consolation may be, and unsuited to the exigencies of a mind that once was spiritual, yet a thousand times have I been glad of it; for a thousand times it has served at least to divert my attention, in some degree, from such terrible tempests as I believe have seldom been permitted to beat upon a human mind. Let my friends, therefore, who wish me some little measure of tranquillity in the performance of the most turbulent voyage that ever Christian mariner made, be contented, that, having Homer's mountains and forests to windward, I escape, under their shelter, from the force of many a gust that would almost overset me; especially when they consider that, not by choice, but by necessity, I make them my refuge. As to fame, and honour, and glory, that may
be quired by poetical feats of any sort: God knows, that if I could lay me down in my grave with hope at my side, or sit with hope at my side in a dungeon all the residue of my days, I would cheerfully wave them all. For the little fame that I have already earned has never saved me from one distressing night, or from one despairing day, since I first acquired it. For what I am reserved, or to what, is a mystery; I would fain hope, not merely that I may amuse others, or only to be a translator of Homer.
Sally Perry's case has given us much concern. I have no doubt that it is distemper. But distresses of mind, that are occasioned by distemper, are the most difficult of all to deal with. They refuse all consolation; they will hear no reason.
by his own immediate impressions, can remove them; as after an experience of thirteen years' misery, I can abundantly testify.
TO LADY HESKETH.
The Lodge, Jan. 18, 1787. I have been so much indisposed with the fever that I told you had seized me, my nights during the whole week may be said to have been almost sleepless. The consequence has been, that, except the translation of about thirty lines at the conclusion of the thirteenth book, I have been forced to abandon Homer entirely. This was a sensible mortification to me, as you may suppose, and felt the more, because, my spirits of course failing with my strength, I seemed to have peculiar need of my old amusement. It seemed hard therefore to be forced to resign it just when I wanted it most. But Homer's battles cannot be fought by a man who does not sleep well, and who has not some little degree of animation in the daytime. Last night, however, quite contrary to my expectations, the fever left me entirely, and I slept quietly, soundly, and long. If it please God that it return not, I shall soon find myself in a condition to proceed. I walk constantly, that is to say, Mrs. Unwin and I together ; for at these times I keep her continually employed, and never suffer her to be absent from me many
minutes. She gives me all her time and